Felix In Hollywood

A Blog for the Smart Set

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Somewhere, Under The Strip Mall.

This may come as a surprise, but there is a strip mall on the corner of Gower and Santa Monica in Hollywood.
And this is what it looked like in 1914:

If your thinking, "Gee, I wonder if....", well you're right.  Hollywood resident L. Frank Baum formed, and was President of, The Oz Film Manufacturing Company in 1914, in order to picturize his books. 

Oz Girl Logo

It was a vanity project and, as those sometimes go, only lasted two years and yielded four features.  But it does mark Baum as a Hollywood pioneer.  After all, the very first footage shot in Hollywood had only occurred four years prior, the first studio erected three years before, and the first feature length picture, one year earlier.

Scarecrow and corn dancers

Wicked Witch and helpful Donkey

Tin Man and headless Witch

It was also a studio lot of a very important first.  Louis Gottschalk, Baum's Vice President and dear friend was a composer who went on to create film scores for such silent classics as, "Broken Blossoms", "The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalyspe" and "The Three Musketeers", wrote the first full film scores for the studio's products.  Until then only cue sheets were made for movies.

After Oz closed up shop, Famous Players-Lasky used the facility for production and then it became the National Film Corporation Of America where Elmo Lincoln envisaged the role of Tarzan the Ape Man.

Elmo Lincoln

Shhh, he's receiving the call of the wild.


Stephen said...

That is a fascinating piece of Hollywood history that was not known to me... I bet there is a great deal that you could teach me!

FelixInHollywood said...

Okay Stephen, now Phoebe Snow's version of "Teach Me Tonight" is going through my head. And that's a good thing!

jason said...

How very cool!

As a Oz fanatic, I'd heard of these films, but I'd never really known Baum was such a pioneer.

normadesmond said...

yet another A+ for felix!

Donna Lethal said...

Oh my god, I sit at that traffic light every day. I love you, Felix!

Dean said...

Fascinating bit of history. I had no idea any of this happened.